The aquaculture industry has grown incredibly, reaching 80 million tonnes a year in 2016. This has coincided with an increase in seafood consumption in general. Per capita consumption of seafood is more than double what it was 50 years ago.
Aquaculture is the farming of aquatic organisms (in both coastal and inland areas) including fish, molluscs, crustaceans and aquatic plants.
A Growing Appetite for Seafood
Seafood is a healthy, high-protein food which can help feed the planet’s growing population. However, overfishing has contributed to serious declines in wild fish populations. Aquaculture can help preserve wild fish stocks and ensure a sustainable source of seafood.
Additionally, farmed fish have a much lower carbon footprint than other forms of protein. Salmon farmers in British Columbia, Canada emit 2.2kg of carbon dioxide for every kilogram of edible fish produced. To put that in perspective, 5.1kg of CO2 are produced per kg of chicken, 6.4kg for pork, and 37.2kg for beef.
The aquaculture industry has experienced significant growth in the Asia Pacific region. China, which produces about two-thirds of the world’s farmed fish, is by far the biggest producer and exporter of farmed fish. India, Indonesia, Vietnam and Bangladesh have also seen major growth in aquaculture production.
Aquaculture can bring economic prosperity and an increase in jobs. However, due to the long, complex supply chains that are prevalent in this industry, maintaining proper human rights and environmental due diligence and risk management policies is challenging. We will be taking a closer look at social issues in the aquaculture industry in our next publication and after that we will focus on environmental sustainability.
Risks in Aquaculture Supply Chains
amfori’s Country Risk Classification tool helps members identify areas where additional vigilance may be necessary to ensure that there are no problems with human rights or environmental issues in the supply chain. Three of the top five aquaculture exporting countries are classified as being High Risk according to our tool. Members operating in these areas should ensure they have proper processes in place to monitor and resolve any issues that may occur.
The aquaculture industry’s supply chains must be closely monitored to avoid environmental and human rights issues. Keep an eye out for our future aquaculture publications, which will focus on social hotspots in the aquaculture industry and then environmental sustainability.